The Coffin Maker By Mark Fowler
The Coffin Maker lives and works alone in the Kingdom of Death. When he completes a coffin a life on Earth ends. That’s how it’s always been.
One day as Coffin sits writing in his journal, The History of Death, trying to sum it all up in one perfect sentence, a note sails past his window.
Is he about to gain a glimpse of the elusive Divine Plan that has eluded him for centuries? Is life in the Kingdom of Death about to change forever?
There are rumours that the devil is finally arriving in the guise of Colonel Gouge. Rumours started by a priest who has upset the Church by writing a book: Coffin Maker. A book written to comfort a bereaved nephew. A book that appears to prophesy not only the arrival of Gouge but also the cataclysmic events about to unfold in the Kingdom of Death.
Meet Mark Fowler
Mark L. Fowler is the author of the novels Coffin Maker, The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour, and more than a hundred short stories. His particular interests are in crime and mystery, psychological thrillers and gothic/horror fiction.
His first published novel, Coffin Maker, is a gothic tale set between our world and the Kingdom of Death. In the Kingdom the Coffin Maker lives a solitary existence, and every coffin he completes signals the end of a life in our world. One day he discovers that he is to be sent two apprentices, amid rumours that the devil is arriving on Earth.
Mark’s second novel, The Man Upstairs, features the hard-boiled detective, Frank Miller, who works the weird streets of Chapeltown. Having discovered that he is in fact the hero of twenty successful mystery novels, authored by The Man Upstairs, Frank has reasons to fear that this latest case might be his last.
In 2016, Silver, a dark and disturbing psychological thriller was published by Bloodhound Books. When a famous romance novelist dies in mysterious circumstances, she leaves behind an unfinished manuscript, Silver. This dark and uncharacteristic work has become the Holy Grail of the publishing world, but the dead writer’s family have their reasons for refusing to allow publication.
Red Is The Colour is Mark’s latest book, a crime mystery featuring two police detectives based in Staffordshire. The case involves the grim discovery of the corpse of a schoolboy who went missing thirty years earlier. Red Is The Colour is the first in a series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills, and will be published in July 2017 by Bloodhound Books.
The author contributed a short story, Out of Retirement, to the best-selling crime and horror collection, Dark Minds. Featuring many well-known writers, all proceeds from the sales of Dark Minds will go to charity.
A graduate in philosophy from Leicester University, Mark lives in Staffordshire, and is currently writing a follow-up to Red Is The Colour. When he isn’t writing he enjoys time with family and friends, watching TV and films, playing guitar/piano and going for long walks.
My ‘Real You’ Interview with Mark Fowler
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey.
As a child I loved reading, escaping into the world of books. I was also a daydreamer with an extremely active imagination. Whenever I was bored, particularly in the classroom, I would drift into my own world, which often seemed a lot more fun. Of course, not everybody appreciated my ‘absence’, and I think my parents got sick of hearing… “Mark would do much better if he paid attention and got on with his work.”
I started writing poetry and then songs. It was a few years later when I began writing short stories. I had written more than a hundred when I decided that it was time that I tried to write a novel. I’d wanted to write a full-length book for a long time, but doubted that I had the skill or the endurance to do so. That book turned out to be Coffin Maker, and I sent it out to publishers with high hopes. Of course, it was rejected, many times. But by now I had the bug: I knew that writing novels was what I wanted to do more than anything else.
Over the following years, I wrote many novels, sending them out, collecting my rejection slips along the way. I would, from time to time, return to earlier works, like Coffin Maker, rewrite, or re-edit, send them out again, move on to a new book, and so on. I sometimes had seven or eight books out there, doing the rounds. It was like spinning plates.
Twenty years after starting work on Coffin Maker, the book finally saw the light of day, published in 2014. I followed it up with the release of The Man Upstairs, the first in a proposed series of Frank Miller Mysteries. In 2016 Bloodhound Books accepted my psychological crime thriller, Silver, which was published the same year. Bloodhound Books are due to publish my latest book, a crime novel, Red Is The Colour, in July this year.
Describe yourself using three words?
Happiest when writing.
What inspired you to write your first novel?
I’d kept putting it off, believing that none of my ideas were good enough to sustain a longer project. And then one day the time felt right and I changed my way of thinking. Instead of having the ‘perfect’ idea for a plot, I decided to undergo a journey of exploration. I knew that my theme was death, and once I had an idea for my main character I simply began writing, to see where the journey might take me. I’ve never regretted making that decision as I had a wonderful adventure with Coffin Maker, and I’m still very proud of that book. When readers tell me how much they have enjoyed it, I get a very special feeling.
What time of day do you like to write?
It varies. Pretty much any time really. I go through different phases. For a long time I did most of my writing in the evenings, and then it switched to mornings when I had the time. I find that whilst a regular routine can be helpful, breaking that routine and trying something different can also be very productive.
What is your favourite book and why?
I would probably say The Bible. My parents bought me a children’s edition when I was very young, and I loved the illustrations and found many of the stories so magical and even frightening in some cases. It is more a library than a single book and packed with amazing stories, characters and settings. I still feel like I’ve only scraped the surface of that book.
How did you pick the title of your book?
I wrote a short story once, Furniture Maker, a very dark story but with a vein of humour. I was pleased with the story and there was something about the title that I really liked. I was thinking about it one day when it kind of morphed into Coffin Maker, which I decided I liked even more. It stayed in the back of my mind and it eventually led to the creation of the actual character. I never once thought about titling the book anything else.
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
Not specifically, no. But things do leak through from the real world from time to time. I recalled a very bad-tempered person, a very thin person, who was also in a position of some authority over me at the time. I think some of that person might have leaked into the character of the Coffin Maker. While writing the book I identified to a degree with the character Hieronymus, and would like to think that there is just a pinch of me in there.
What’s your favourite word?
If you were a colour what would it be?
Different colours, depending on the day. Today I’m blue, but tomorrow I may well be orange.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
This is a good one and there is no easy answer. I’m always very torn on this. With most of my short stories, I tended to set off on a new adventure, to see what happened; a kind of act of creative faith, if you like. Many times it worked out fine, but sometimes it didn’t. That is maybe not a problem if you are writing two-thousand words, but when writing a seventy-eight thousand word novel it can be a bit scary, to say the least. I try to have a minimal plan, a safety net, of sorts. I like to know enough to have faith that I can go the distance. With some books, I have known a little more, but if I over-plan it generally kills the thing off before I’ve even started. It is quite thrilling to set off knowing very little sometimes, but scary too.
Who is your favourite Author?
I don’t have one single favourite, but I’m a big fan of Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Ruth Rendell, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, Minette Walters, Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, Thomas Harris, Jim Thompson, Du Maurier, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and countless others.
You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why?
Jeeves, Wooster, Hannibal Lecter and Hamlet. Then I wouldn’t know whether to laugh, scream or cry!
What book are you reading at the moment?
Re-reading Silence of the Lambs, funnily enough.
Where in the world is your happy place?
If you had one superpower what would it be?
Are you working on a new project?
Huge thanks to Mark Fowler for being on my blog today.
You can find The Coffin Maker and more here:
Book Links & Mark Fowler Info:
LINKS TO AUTHOR’S BOOKS:
Coffin Maker Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2onD2Y8
Amazon US http://amzn.to/2nWV4Q2
The Man Upstairs Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2nITQ99
Amazon US http://amzn.to/2on76mD
Silver Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2n0ZHbq
Amazon US http://amzn.to/2mtF97y
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